Krauthammer on Social Security

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Krauthammer’s column today predicts that Obama will “demagogue Social Security” to reelection. A friendly amendment to the column: Obama is likely to run a very similar campaign on Medicare, and probably will put more emphasis on it. For several reasons.

1) Social Security touches people’s anxieties about poverty in old age, but Medicare touches their anxieties about both poverty and illness. It’s a stronger issue.

2) Voucherizing Medicare is a bigger change than adjusting the benefits formula for Social Security — and thus one that’s easier to get people to worry about.

3) Republicans ran hard against the Medicare cuts included in Obamacare. So both payback and wanting to undo some of the damage Democrats suffered with seniors on the issue counsel making an issue of any Republican reforms to the program.